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So What Do I Do? A Crime Thriller from the High School

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An alternate cover edition can be found here.

This is a thriller of the “Why’d they do it?” category and the book stands alone with its intriguing trail of catch-up between the police and the criminals. A crime that goes badly wrong in its execution, and goes on to tragically affect the local school community, produces a trail of chaos. It’s a winding trail that the reader must try to follow and which two ex-pupils from the school, one a detective and the other his violent quarry, take around Britain only to end at its shocking conclusion.

In So What Do I Do?, the third novel in the So What! series, we see the return of a few of readers' favourite characters from the previous books. Constable Nigel Shantra returns as a detective, determined to bring to justice Kyle Crabbe, the psychotic adversary of his from the first So What! novel. And just what does a class of cheeky chimps, and a large black spider monkey, have to do with the traumatic events surrounding Hodgson's Hide - the legacy of retired Technology teacher Gil Hodgson?

Molly is back also, now as an experienced teacher and a new mum. She's trying to come to terms with the major changes planned for Birch Green High School, while she and Oliver have dramatic plans of their own that could seriously affect both their careers. Still anxious to save the natural environment and its wildlife, Molly is also troubled by the plight of the neglected children of the world and climate change. Is she ever going to settle down to a blissful life of domesticity with her family when so many problems insist on grabbing her attention?
When a conspiracy to defraud the local populace, devised by two apparently respectable but unscrupulous pillars of the community, goes disastrously wrong it results in an intriguing case for detective constable Shantra to solve. The traumatic events that ensue will prove to affect the haplessly incompetent pair of criminal perpetrators, hired by the swindling conspirators, as well as the teachers and pupils of Birch Green High School.

Recently promoted Molly discovers that the pressures of helping newly qualified teachers, like James Gibborn, to cope with unruly classes bear no comparison to the eventual strain that she and her colleagues experience when an ex-pupil of the school decides it’s time for payback. This bullying past enemy of Nigel Shantra and his brother, Adam, will prove to be far more ruthless and cruel than anyone could have imagined in order to achieve his criminal ambitions. But he is just as likely to turn his attention towards anyone who upsets his plans, with terrifying consequences for those who won’t comply with his wishes.

265 pages, Paperback

First published June 17, 2015

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About the author

G.J. Griffiths

12 books79 followers
G J Griffiths is a retired science teacher with some early working experience of the photographic industry. Born in the UK he enjoys reading most genres of fiction such as sci-fi, crime/detective thrillers, historical and wildlife stories. Non-fiction reading mainly includes scientific or historical books. Walking in the English, Scottish or Welsh countryside with binoculars ready for bird-watching or other wildlife is a particular pleasure.
His first novel was Fallen Hero and the So What! series of three books followed. All three are focussed on the fictitious Birch Green High School. More recent works include poetry: Dizzyrambic Imaginings, two illustrated children’s sci-fi stories about ant-size aliens and historical novels based upon real characters from the Industrial Revolution period: The Quarry Bank Tales., Mules; Masters & Mud, The Mule Spinners' Daughters.


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Displaying 1 - 27 of 27 reviews
Profile Image for Lisa Reads & Reviews.
441 reviews119 followers
August 19, 2015

I felt as though I was sitting in front of a TV set, only I did not have control of the remote and the person who did was flipping through a hundred channels. Just when I became interested in a character, like the senior birdwatchers where the wife is struggling with a disability, the channel would change and I had to endure watching a selfish, chocolate-eating, fat, and rich woman play kissy face with her spoiled pug (too cliche for my taste). All details about a crime, one involving several characters with their flaws and variety of motivations, are known up front. The only question is how the arsonists will be caught and whether the real culprits will escape punishment.

The novel jumps inside the heads of small town folks, which, while the totality paints an accurate picture of how crimes of a few can affect, and be thwarted by, a cast of many, can simply become a chore to wade through. The result of having no protagonist is that the cast of 100s are underdeveloped, making it difficult for me to be thrilled or chilled when one is in danger (I'm thinking, now who is Carol, or was that Molly who....???). Since I could not immerse myself in this story, I found myself reading just to answer the question how and if the criminals would be caught whereas I would have preferred to have enjoyed the journey. The many roadside attractions could become novels in themselves....Molly who chooses to work part time so she can adopt a child, and perhaps become an activist in the bird hide cause...and Jean who must survive disability, and the loss of her husband while the school in which he taught considers not rebuilding the bird hide. Just those two threads could become a novel--yet they are lost in the crowd.

The writing delivered the story, but nothing more. However, I must praise the authors for all the work they must have put into weaving a tapestry of this size together in a way that made sense. Perhaps if I had read other novels in the So What! series, some of the characters would have been familiar and I would not have felt so underwhelmed.
Profile Image for Susanne Leist.
Author 5 books568 followers
July 23, 2015
The story begins in a sweet way with a pair of bird watchers. But it soon turns deadly with a bombing and a dead body. The author delves into the characters of Birch Green High School and their feelings about the horrific event. We also learn about their feelings about the environment and about each other.
The poor Hodgson Hide, a bird sanctuary, is destroyed once again. The beautiful bird paradise is ruined by a conspiracy theory and criminals. The author slowly unfolds the story in his unique way.
I liked the characters and the book was fun to read.
Profile Image for Hock Tjoa.
Author 8 books89 followers
July 27, 2015
The author is to be congratulated on persevering and completing his announced trilogy of the So What books. With nearly forty named characters and a "shaggy-dog" style, the book appears to this reviewer to be a leave taking by the author of characters he has conjured in his imagination and from whom he is loath to part.

The many topics seem to meander: birding, teaching, the politics of school administration, larceny on the part of a councilman and a member of the gentry, juvenile delinquents and not so juvenile criminals, investigative reporting into genetically modified food and pesticides, a glancing reference to "fracking," an incident with a male spider monkey, the noisome but darling children, the prospect of adoption--this reader's attention was sent to wander.

The writing is mostly correct and occasionally witty, as with a character's "designer-stubbled chin." It appears to be strained at times as another character is described with an expression that "always looked as though he'd swallowed a poisonous toad when he issued the words your mother." The author demonstrates by his brave attempts how really difficult it is to write well about tender or hilarious moments. Cliches creep in: "male chauvinist pig" does not strike me appropriate for use in a jocular manner and "think globally, act locally"is almost cringe-worthy. "Do you need, Omar?" must surely be an error as is "you're" for your. The point of view or voice of this narrative is shakier than the focus of many a cinema verite documentary. Once the voice even changes from the first to the third person within a sentence or two.

What, indeed, should we do?
Profile Image for J.E. Rowney.
Author 23 books389 followers
March 2, 2021
I probably suffered by not reading the earlier books in the series before this one. There are a lot of characters and it was quite difficult to grasp what was happening, to who, and, for the most part, why. It’s very much a surface story (or should that be surface stories) with not too much depth, but that’s probably related to the large cast of characters. I didn’t love this book, but there was plenty of action going on.
If you’ve enjoyed the earlier books maybe you’ll like this one. The writing itself, with the aforementioned note on lack of depth aside, is fine.
Profile Image for Anne.
498 reviews9 followers
September 12, 2015
First off I want to point out that I do not like the cover of this book and if I'd seen it in a book shop I would not have been drawn to it and that would have been a shame. However, I read this story on my Kindle having been offered a free copy by the author in return for an honest review and that's what you'll get.

I have read other books by GJ Griffiths and my first impression was just how much his writing has matured and of course I say that as a mere reader, I am no writer myself so I have no intention of sounding patronising when I make this observation.

The story is laid out in a style reminiscent to me of old Columbo episodes in that we witness the crime and then get caught up in the progress, or otherwise, made by the police and other characters in solving the crime.

The scene is set with yet another case of arson in the nature area of Birch Green High School and my initial thoughts were 'Oh no, not again' but the author successfully moves this story on in a more original manner than I anticipated.

I have previously noted that Kindle copies by a number of authors can suffer from an apparent lack of proofreading but, in the main Mr Griffiths has dealt with this issue. He has also overcome the problems I have encountered previously in using language and punctuation that appeal to an adult audience as well as the the young adults I feel he is trying to attract. However, in my part of the world the terms 'smeghead' and 'plonker' are so last century as to be laughable when used by a villain who does not hesitate to use torture and even murder as a means to his own ends.Overall though the characters in this book are rather more authentic than I have found in others in this series. Oh I forgot to mention that it's one of several books based in this High School but it also works just as well as a stand alone novel.

GJ Griffiths is very keen on the environment and indeed gives a percentage of the sale of his books to relevant charities but I do feel that there are two tones to this book; the one following the narrative and then the one where the character Molly gets on her soapbox and delivers a lecture about a subject she feels strongly about when the whole tone becomes more like that of a newspaper article in perhaps The Guardian and may therefore lose a proportion of it's younger readers, but I may be wrong.

Whilst on the subject of Molly Shrimpton I do still find her to be a bit of a twee Miss Goody Two Shoes but I am glad that she now has her husband Oliver to balance the scales somewhat.

Overall a great read that I would recommend to anyone who likes a good crime novel and I look forward to the next book by this author.
Profile Image for Hazel.
547 reviews31 followers
August 27, 2015
This eBook was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review

A crime thriller from the high school: So What Do I Do? is the third book in the So What! series by British author G. J. Griffiths. Despite being part of a series it works as a stand-alone story meaning that anyone can read it regardless of whether they are familiar with the previous books.

So What Do I Do? is set in the north of England and centers around Birch Green High School. Do not be put off by the mention of school however, as the key characters are all adults. The story begins with the destruction of a bird hide on the school’s land. The hide was named after the well-loved ex-teacher, Gil Hodgson, who was there with his disabled wife at the time that arsonists targeted the area. Due to the harm caused to the elderly couple, the police are on the trail of the thugs that were responsible for this terrible act, and they are also determined to discover their motive.

This is not a mystery story in the traditional sense; there is no ‘whodunit?’ theme for us to work out. Due to the multiple character perspectives, the readers know straight away who the culprits are and why they commit such a horrific act. In fact, there are so many characters that any suspense is completely eradicated.

To be perfectly honest there appeared to be far more characters than were actually needed in order to tell the story. Having not read any other books in the series it is difficult to determine whether these extras were actually key persons within the general history of Birch Green High School – if that is the case, then that solves their presence within So What Do I Do?

Griffiths has differentiated between the intelligent and the dimwitted through use of dialect. Whilst this attempts to make things more realistic, it does take a while to get used to this type of language, thus slowing the pace of the overall novel.

Occasionally the author has attempted to be humorous, for instance a scene involving spider monkeys, however one would not go as far as to say it was ‘laugh-out-loud’ funny. It is also not much of a thriller; nevertheless the ending does become more exciting as we wait to find out whether the police force will capture the criminals before they can commit any more crime.

Overall, So What Do I Do? is a unique novel with some interesting characters who you will definitely wish you knew more about - an incentive to read the rest of the series, perhaps?
Profile Image for J.C. Wing.
Author 23 books217 followers
July 7, 2015
The third book in the So What series starts off with Gil Hodgson, whom readers were introduced to in Griffiths’ previous novel. This time, we are offered a closer peek at his personal life when we are introduced to his wife, Jean. It’s been five years since Hodgson’s Hide was built, and as the story opens, it is here we find the couple as they take part in a bit of bird watching. They aren’t alone, however. They are unknowingly in the company of some troublemakers, and Griffiths has shown a bright spark of storytelling brilliance with this introduction. He starts the story off with more than a little intrigue, and succeeds in keeping the pages turning from the beginning all the way through to the end.

Hodgson’s Hide, a once beloved nature corner, and Birch Green High School, which is interested in becoming an academy school, both seem to be in danger at the hands of some rather unscrupulous partners; half of which are interested in exacting personal revenge, and the other looking for financial gain. The plan goes awry, setting off a domino effect of one crime committed after another.

Griffiths uses some of the most entertaining phrases such as; “In contrast to his brother-in-law Sherwin’s lack of tallness had more of the Dumpty about it. But this “egg” was of the hard-boiled type, with a shell that cracked easily, having no time for fools.” These creative gems are sprinkled throughout his engaging prose, delighting the reader while giving an already imaginative story even more color.

This tale holds a bit more mystery than those before it, and shows Griffiths’ talent for intrigue. It’s an interesting puzzle, one that is not so much a ‘whodunnit’, but ‘how’dtheydoit’. The pieces are created incredibly well and fall into place nicely. This story rolls along at a very pleasant pace with many surprises along the way…including possibly one of the best bad guy confessions ever written, and a very satisfying ending.
Profile Image for Ronesa Aveela.
Author 50 books93 followers
July 3, 2015
So what do I write? I’m torn with my review of this book. I really liked certain parts, but others felt out of place. On the positive side, I loved the humor in the story, from the woes of a new teaching acclimating himself to his class, to a spider monkey saving the day. I found myself relating to the characters, the good and the bad. They make you laugh and cry. The author describes some characters in colorful, poetic detail, for example: “His stringy stature had something of a heron about it, the way he appeared to withdraw his neck and often stand poised, thinking, weighing up things, his beady eyes staring, waiting for a catch of some sort.”

Now on to the negatives. By telling us who engineered the fire and the reasons behind it, and showing us who carried it out, the author took the “thrill” out of thriller. I would have liked to have been kept in the dark, and discovered clues along with the detective. Not only in the beginning does this happen, but in various places throughout the story, the author gives away what is about to happen before the scene unfolds, taking away its suspense. This got better near the end, when there were a few surprises that happened real-time.

Throughout the story the author also promotes multiple causes for the preservation of nature and wildlife, for the wellbeing of children, adoption, care for the elderly, and more. I applaud him for his efforts, but they were isolated bits of conversation that were not tied in well with the main story.

Does this mean I didn’t like this story? Not at all. If you like stories about law enforcement tracking criminals, this may be the book for you.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Scott Spotson.
Author 16 books109 followers
July 2, 2015
So What Do I Do?... is a book written with an ensemble cast, with no lead characters or protagonists. As such, it is necessary to explore this intricately woven plot through the points of views of several characters. To be fair, the author does pick certain characters to carry the story, such as the school teacher, his wife, the two detectives, and the two ruffians.

The author delves into many of the characters with details as to their desires, their ambitions, and their perceptions of the world as he tells the story.

Ultimately, though, while a book with an ensemble cast of characters could work, the subject matter (the bombing of the bird-watching hut, the resulting delayed death of the school teacher, and the web of deceit that unfolds when the two ne'er-do-well villains attempt to escape the long arm of the law) wasn't interesting enough for me to remain seized by the plot of this book, if it were to be told from several perspectives and also include other personal stories unrelated to the bombing.

I applaud the author for trying something different, for making the lives of those in the book as normal as possible, while dealing with the rapidly unfolding series of events that span out from a tragic event that takes but a few seconds, and making sure everyone has their say. The characters feel, act, and stay authentic, in a British setting. However, as a mystery, it just wasn't taut or unnerving enough for me to stay invested.

Profile Image for Cathy.
399 reviews1 follower
July 15, 2015
I read the first two books so was happy to see what was going on with the people from those books. This book talks about Birch Green High School in England and a nature corner on the school property called a bird hide.
They named it Hodgson's Hide in honor of a retired teacher everyone liked. It had been burned down twice before and funds had been gotten together from fund raisers in the community to rebuild. It is educational for the children and Gil Hodgson and his wife Jean love to come there to do bird watching. I did run into some terms I was not familiar with as this takes place in the UK and I live in the US. Fly tipping I thought, what in the world is that?? So thankfully the good old internet helped me out and told me that it is : Illegal dumping, also called fly dumping or fly tipping, or refers to dumping waste illegally instead of using an authorised method such as relying on kerbside collection or using an authorised rubbish dump.

I loved how the author had the slang down when the low life criminals were speaking. It made me feel I was watching tv and I could almost hear them talking.

There is a lot going on in this book find out how a large black spider monkey helps to capture one of the bad guys! Funny!

Good job Mr Griffiths
Profile Image for Ben Hammott.
20 reviews
December 23, 2015
When I was sent this book free for an honest review, I doubted it would be to my taste and not one I would not have normally chosen to read, which may have had something to do with the cover. However, after reading a few pages I was sucked into the story and from that moment on there was no going back. As other reviewers have mentioned, this thriller has a lot of characters stories to follow, but as each story line is written distinctly enough to avoid confusion, you soon slip into their different lives as they gradually join together. The plot revolves around the Birch Green High School and an incident that happens on the grounds, which goes disastrously wrong and throughout the book the reader gradually learns the motive and the repercussions until the shocking finale is reached.
Now I have finished the book I am pleased that I received a copy for review as I think my life has been slightly enriched by the experience. If you are undecided in your choice, take a LOOK INSIDE and I am sure you will follow through with a purchase. A well written thriller that I can honestly recommend.
Profile Image for Samuel.
Author 4 books14 followers
September 2, 2015
This book didn't immediately engage me, but as the plot thickened I found a lot to enjoy. The language itself was a little plain for my tastes, but it was also clear, concise and fit for purpose. I also enjoyed the thoroughly British accents and nicknames. In fact, the book is littered with British reference points, but I'm sure the story itself has a broad appeal.
The book gives a closer look at the Gil Hodgson, and we see different facets of his life and personality here. I found the plot of this book more engaging than an earlier book in the series, although I did have to labour somewhat through the early chapters. As the plot began to roll, I found it well-paced throughout and found the setting and characters grounded and authentic. There was a strong sense that the author knows the setting and the characters intimately, and the book benefits as a result.
Although not all the elements of the story, setting and genre appealed to me specifically, I admire the author's execution and I'm sure the book will appeal to a broad range of readers.
Profile Image for A.E. Albert.
Author 6 books43 followers
June 25, 2015
So What Do I Do? is another novel by G.J. Griffiths and the third installment of the So What? series. However, this time something more sinister is afoot as English police race to unmask those responsible for the death of a beloved teacher at the local high school.

The story contains numerous characters. Some have small parts to play, while others a more significant role. Regardless, the author breathes life into each and everyone of these real and believable characters. He masterfully sculpts them with the written word, shaping personalities that could step off the page.

So What Do I Do? is an exceptionally well written book. The author once again demonstrates his ability to create multi-faceted characters within a multi-faceted plot line.

His writing once again draws a myriad of emotions form the reader, enabling us to not only believe in his characters but also relate to them.
Profile Image for Anna Fantabulous.
65 reviews6 followers
October 13, 2015
The story begins five years after the events detailed in ‘So What's Next! (So What! Stories, #2)’. Molly Pearson is now the mother of two boys and is dissatisfied with her job as a teacher. A tragedy - a criminal act of arson that converts to attempted murder and manslaughter - propels her to make the change that gives more meaning and substance to her life.

It does not end so well for Gil Hodgson, the renowned retired teacher whose nature corner ‘Hodgson’s Hide’ Molly restored in ‘So What's Next!’. A nefarious scheme to grab land and make money off it leads to his death and an investigation ensues. The motivation of the villains is petty materialism and the lesson of the story is to reach for something beyond one’s self.

Griffiths’ novel will best appeal to nature lovers, wild life activists, teachers and people who have fond memories of school.

I received a free copy of the book in exchange for a fair, unbiased and non-reciprocal review.
Profile Image for C.A. Pack.
Author 15 books27 followers
December 4, 2015
"So What Do I Do" is a crime thriller about a greedy businessman and a similarly greedy magistrate who allow their desire for huge profits to cloud their judgment. The action involves the death of a beloved schoolteacher who needlessly dies trying to save his wife from a burning building and the resulting investigation of the fire. The plot of this story is complex and the characters are many. It took me a while to really get involved in the storyline because there were so many characters to keep track of. And while the details are well researched, the author incorporated some environmental/scientific information that, while interesting, does not move the plot forward and could have been left out. I must say, once I got past the beginning of this novel, I became fully engaged, and I’m glad I had an opportunity to read it. The main characters are well developed; the description of the locations is nicely done; and the outcome is rewarding.
Profile Image for P.M.F. Johnson.
Author 22 books17 followers
December 30, 2015
I received a copy of "So What Do I Do" in exchange for an honest review. I thought the main plotline of this book proceeded in an interesting and engaging fashion. The crime committed, the unforeseen complications, and the unfolding of the consequences were believably written. The characters all seemed quite real, especially the bad guys.

I did have some quibbles with the author's occasional pause for an info dump. For instance, I didn't feel the need for a full page explanation of neonicotinoids and their effects on the environment. But such lapses were rare enough, and easily skipped.

My favorite part of the book might have been the various blunders that characters made, and the playing out of subsequent consequences. It made everyone so human to see them messing up. Very believable. However, I do think the book could have used another editing pass. Also, some technical details could have used a review.

Overall, it was an enjoyable read.
Profile Image for Patricia.
331 reviews48 followers
August 5, 2015
This is a brilliant follow on from the first two books in the So What! series. It is a very much darker story than the other books but the same characters are there with us throughout. The reader is plunged into some very difficult times and throughout we laugh rarely and cry often as the story unfolds. The characters are even more rounded in this third in the series which, in my opinion, is even better than the first two. The story line throughout holds together well and we get to know the characters more as we explore their individual places in the book and in the picture as a whole. My only gripe would be that the ending doesn't really fulfill the darkness the story holds and is somehow lacking given the depth we gain of the main protagonists throughout. That said I still heartily recommend this to everyone
Profile Image for Benjamin Hebert.
Author 3 books11 followers
January 23, 2016
So What Do I Do? Was an interesting read. Overall I think the lack of a 'main character'/ characters hurt the story a lot. It contains a big cast that the author moves between and though some have a bigger focus than others, I didn't really have the chance to relate or learn to care about any of them.

The story was decent, and I continued through to follow it till it's conclusion but I think the presentation could have been much much better. I'm curious if the rest of the series is done in this manner and if the characters show up in them. Having received this in exchange for an honest review I did not read the previous volumes and cannot attest to them as a whole.

If you like thrillers you'd probably enjoy this book. Just don't expect to find your favorite character of all time within it's pages.
Profile Image for Joannes Rhino.
Author 10 books48 followers
May 17, 2016
"So What Do I Do?" is a brilliant piece of work. I love the idea of how the author tries to describe an event from a multiple point of views. Having no main character in a story sometimes can be difficult for readers to follow (by difficult, I mean boring), but that seems not to be the case in this book. The author keeps the mystery going until a certain stage where the dots start to linking one and another. I wish if the author gives the explanation at the few last chapters of the book, that would be better. However, I was fully entertained reading this book.
Profile Image for Ica Iova.
Author 17 books111 followers
September 1, 2015
Although we are introduced to a lot of characters (too many for my liking with no protagonist,) the author did a good job separating each voice; the dialogue is believable, the plot line is interesting. A very fun to read book. I recommend it.
Profile Image for Bruce Perrin.
Author 11 books80 followers
April 6, 2016
When Backstory Intrudes on Plot

So What Do I Do is a tale of two apparently upstanding citizens who turn greedy. They then hire a ruthless enforcer to manage the actions of two hapless, petty criminals in their get-rich-quick scheme. The caper goes awry, providing a series of twists as the story unfolds.

The book is well written. The prose is descriptive and the characters and settings were generally well developed. Initially, the dialog concerned me, as several of the characters use slang and pronunciations that are a bit tricky for a Midwestern American. But I understood most of it and I got to the point where I enjoyed the conversations more than I expected. (I do admit, however, that even by the end of the book, I am not positive I know what “innit” means...maybe, isn’t it? But given the modern marvels of the eBook, I can tell you that this word occurs 61 times.)

Because the criminals and their motivation are known from the outset, the story revolves around the chase and the continuous degeneration of the criminals’ plans. As the police work is mostly routine (fingerprints, interviews, footwork), my attention was mostly drawn to the downward spiral of the criminal element. ‘Honor among thieves’ was not a phrase they knew, resulting in some interesting twists as the story moves forward.
For me, perhaps the biggest drawback of the book was that the backstory and the background tended to intrude on the plot. All of the detail about climate change, the pros and cons of chemical use in agriculture, moral and practical issues related to neglected and abused children, commercialization of education, and so on, made me wonder how it was all going to be tied back to the crime. And the answer is, it wasn’t tied in. From reading the synopsis, I understand that this book is part of a series, and at least some of this material may be to continue an ongoing backstory. But for the reader picking up just this book, this material tends to dilute the rest of the plot.

Overall, So What Do I Do is something like a cozy thriller. There are a number of folksy, solid citizens, concerned about a range of societal ills, who get caught in the crossfire as a criminal conspiracy self-destructs.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Jon.
Author 2 books41 followers
January 30, 2016
In So What Do I Do?, British author G.J. Griffiths demonstrates an incredible talent for telling a compelling, realistic crime story from the perspective of the criminals. Griffiths’ tale takes the reader into a world of crime that operates under the same class distinctions that are at work in every day, legitimate life. The story shows how ugly, brutal crimes that, on the surface, appear to percolate up from the lowest rungs of society may actually originate in the greed and corruption of the wealthy, powerful and privileged. Chock-full of action and dramatic tension, the book excels in portraying the psyche of the wrongdoers and, to a lesser extent, the world of law enforcement. Unfortunately, the detectives are among some of the most one-dimensional characters in the book. Griffiths presents a varied and intriguing caste of villains, victims and what I’ll call observers (family and friends of the victims, with deep connections to the local high school). The crime side of the book is extremely absorbing and entertaining, but its everyday depiction of high school life receives far too much attention, in my opinion, because most of those scenes involve character studies that have only limited relevance to advancing the central plot. A glowing exception to this is how the book uses student-teacher interactions to effect the recovery of a vital piece of evidence. The book would benefit greatly from having its protagonist’s personal journey/evolution tied far more directly to the central plot line. Still, the depictions of the criminal element and the slowly tightening, inevitable closing in of law enforcement make the book well worth reading and provides some truly original and surprising twists. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for B.A. Spicer.
Author 14 books72 followers
April 7, 2016

Don't be put off by the cover!

This is the second book I have read by this author. I had already met the majority of the characters in ‘So What Do I Do Next?’ and I was interested to know how their stories would continue. Although the book opens with yet another arson attack at Birch Green High School, the plot is definitely intriguing from the start. There is also the same variety of colourful characters from different walks of life, from petty criminals to murderers to school teachers and their dysfunctional students.

Unlike the previous book, which was largely based around a school and its community, so that the plot was secondary to the characters and their environment, ‘So What Do I Do?’ is a thriller. As such, the story does sometimes lose direction due to the ‘mini-lectures’ the author likes to give on various subjects that I presume are close to his heart (he used to be a science teacher). The themes discussed range from GM farming to classroom etiquette. The destruction of the environment is also dealt with in detail. And this is where my concentration faltered. ‘So What Do I Do?’ became a crime/thriller story I really wanted to read, interrupted by bouts of political and ethical views and analyses delivered mainly by Molly (who is rather twee) and her husband (who is a more believable as a character).

The writing is skilful and engaging. There is tension, drama and pace. Characters are well drawn and dialogue is ambitious, tackling the vernacular of the criminal underworld to add colour and humour. I just would have preferred less in the way of commentary. All in all, an enjoyable read.

I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

15 reviews
December 16, 2015
Overall, I enjoyed this book. Greed doesn’t pay.

The plot was interesting, following two clumsy criminals as their crime unravels, becomes worse than they could ever imagine and they suffer the consequences. There were quite a few side stories happening simultaneously, these could have been pared down to make the plot flow better.

The author does an excellent job of creating flawed characters, and they are interesting to follow as the story develops. Descriptions of the characters make them come alive, though there are a few too many characters to keep them all straight all the time. If I had set the book down for a couple of weeks and then picked it back up again, I might not have remembered the role of each character.

Some of the side stories were a little on the preachy side—save the planet, save the orphans, save the nature reserve. I appreciate the themes, but they detract from the main storyline.

As a biologist that has lived in the UK, I appreciated the authentic language and accurate descriptions.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for G.J. Griffiths.
Author 12 books79 followers
February 13, 2023
In the So What! series of books I have tried to carefully craft each novel to present my readers with an enjoyable stand-alone story. However, there are with links between each book to favourite characters from Birch Green High School.

Here is my summary to date:
Readers laughed and they cried at So What! Stories or Whatever!
Readers gasped and they sighed at So What's Next!
So prepare to be fooled and defied at So What Do I Do? the latest stand-alone novel in the So What! series from G J Griffiths.

It's a crime thriller from the High School that has Detective Nigel Shantra chasing a ruthless criminal from his past - with surprising contributions from a class of cheeky chimps and a large black spider monkey!
Profile Image for Dermot Davis.
Author 14 books50 followers
April 10, 2016
Even though I have not yet read the first two books in the series, I had no problem following the plot or understanding the characters of this delightful tale. More of a why did they do it than a whodunnit, I enjoyed the slow pace as it built up steam towards a rewarding climax that left me in thought for longer than most best-selling thrillers. The fact that the setting was local (at least in the UK) and involved local people and community education and politics was a very nice change from international espionage and the like. I also liked that the author didn't pander to youth and have the lead characters be good-looking, young kids with a penchant for romance; spending time with Gil and Jean Hodgson was far more real and rewarding.
Profile Image for Annabelle Costa.
Author 30 books310 followers
November 5, 2016
I don't read a lot of crime thrillers and I thought this was written in a very interesting way. It was an ensemble cast with a lot of different storylines going on, but all of them were very interesting. Not all the characters were entirely likable, but I actually like flawed characters. It's not a whodunnit, but more like Columbo in that you know the crime up front and it's all about whether the criminals will come to justice. More of a "how they dunnit." In general, I thought it was a great, unique story.
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